The garden is where I go to lose myself, or, as it was once said in a 1970’s song, “take trip without ever leaving the farm.” I can assure you it wasn’t that kind of trip, but I do lose myself in thought amongst the raspberries, potatoes, dry beans, tomatoes and all the other goodies advertising themselves out there right now.
I originally entitled this blog Organic Truths for a reason and while picking green beans the other day it dawned on me that I had gotten caught up in posting a lot of feel good stuff about the garden production and the sweet delights of honeybees lately, things some might call fluff. I got to going down this road of thought as I was pulling the beans off of the vine after recalling a conversation a few weeks back with a local school teacher. She told me she always asks the kids in her class where food comes from. Alarmingly none of them ever say a farm. Food production is completely foreign to them and all they know is that it comes from the store, or, as I have said most of my life, for most people – “that grocery store shelf just poops out that loaf of bread each day so its nice and fresh for each of us.”
So enough with the fluff, its time for something a little harder hitting than I have been posting here. I would begin with the question, what are you doing to provide for yourself? Are you completely dependent on the “system”, or can you step outside it and provide for at least some of your own needs? After all, we depend on a system that is staying afloat entirely because of the fiat money our government is printing. It’s not a “system” that can last. (But that is another discussion for another time.)
I’m fully aware that for some folks, such as those living in an apartment, growing some of your own food is not possible. Hopefully those of you in this situation frequent farmers markets and at your regular grocery store you buy organic when you can. Yes, I hear the protests already that it costs more. But I say Bull-lony. If our nations food production was not subsidized by our government you would see very little difference in price. What’s the cost of utilizing this “cheap” Big Ag, government subsidized food? Have you priced cancer lately? That’s kind of costly wouldn’t you say. Not to mention all the other diseases that are so rampant today, but were rare in previous generations.
The cheap food we have all become addicted to (and obese by) is not so much food as it is a “food-like” substance. Full of antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, preservatives, glyphosate (round up), genetically modified substances that are entirely man-made, and often processed into something unrecognizable as a product from the original plant and it is certainly nothing like the nature made food that God intended for us to eat. And if your vegan don’t think you are dodging this bullet. Seemingly innocent things like strawberries, celery, cantaloupe and blueberries (just examples, there are many others) contain some of the highest levels of pesticides and chemicals of anything you can eat.
Now back to the bean patch. As my thoughts continued I grew more frustrated. How ironic that everyone wants free (or cheap) health care, but they wont take the first step towards walking away from the source of so many dangerous pesticides and chemicals. And if our children (the next generation) and their parents, don’t even know where the food comes – well, it sure doesn’t get any easier to sell them government subsidized food that is full of poisons.
I moved on from the green beans to the corn patch, pulled some ears of corn and began husking them. As I thought about the role corn plays in our society I was thankful we had made it a point to find seed that was not genetically modified. The corn I was preparing for dinner was as organic and natural as a person could get and I began wishing others could share in it. This reminded me of how many communities in Europe (a place we like to hold up as an example for health care) grow food, NOT LAWNS!!! Think of the cost of a lawn. Fertilizer, water, chemicals to eradicate those pesky dandelions (and other naturally growing plants but undesirable in the unnatural setting of a lawn) gasoline, oil and an assembly of accoutrements to assist the home owner in having the nicest lawn on the block. And for what might I ask? The ONLY time I see someone who even appears to be grazing the green surface of their yards is when they’re face down drunk, moaning instead of mooing.
Back to Europe. Have you ever seen the air photos of Swiss communities, entire communities, not just a few homes, that are full of gardens? For one thing they are far more appealing than a bunch of look alike lawns. They have character and display immense creativity. The folks in those communities are providing for themselves. Often they coordinate with others and instead of attempting to grow everything they need for themselves they grow crops to be traded with neighbors. And this leads to so much more than food, it builds community. People know their neighbors and they work together to provide many of the things each of them needs. I can only imagine how we would get to know our neighbors if this was the model our own communities were striving for instead of striving to upstage our neighbors in the competition to have the best looking lawn and yard while depending on the “system” to provide our basic sustenance.
Are you dependent on the “system” for all your needs or are you working towards providing for yourself? Do you support local growers and pay their prices to bring home real food instead of food-like substances? Hard questions I know. Cheap food has made us a lazy and pleasure oriented society, a society that rarely knows where its food comes from or what’s in it. You don’t have to be one of the “zombies” that goes along like a pig to slaughter. I encourage you to take that first step. Now is the time to begin planning for next spring. Make it a small step, something you will enjoy doing, something you believe you can have success at and then expand the following year. Believe me, there are few things as rewarding as providing your own food. Food that is healthy for you, food you grew, preserved and prepared entirely on your own.
I hope this provoked a few readers. For some it might be taken as a jab in the ribs, but for most I hope its taken as something that provokes thought and action, more than reaction. I welcome your comments and hope to see many of them after you have read this post.
My best to all of you.